Plug-in electric vehicle fire incidents
Several plug-in electric vehicle fire incidents have taken place since the introduction of mass-production plug-in electric vehicles in 2010. Most of them have been thermal runaway incidents related to the lithium-ion batteries and have involved the Zotye M300 EV, Chevrolet Volt, Fisker Karma, Dodge Ram 1500 Plug-in Hybrid, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Outlander P-HEV. Most hybrid electric vehicles available in the market today use nickel-metal hydride batteries which do not pose the same risk of thermal runaway as lithium-ion batteries.As of February 2014, four fires after an impact have been reported associated with the batteries of plug-in electric cars. The first crash related fire was reported in China in May 2012, after a high-speed car crashed into a BYD e6 taxi in Shenzhen. Two incidents occurred with the Tesla Model S in October 2013, one when a Model S caught fire after the electric car hit metal debris on a highway in Kent, Washington state, and another involving a loss of control and collision with a tree in Merida, Mexico. A Tesla Model S being driven on a highway near Murfreesboro, Tennessee caught fire in November 2013 after it struck a tow hitch on the roadway, causing damage beneath the vehicle.The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting a study due in 2014 to establish whether lithium-ion batteries in plug-electric vehicles pose a potential fire hazard. The research is looking at whether the high-voltage batteries can cause fires when they are being charged and when the vehicles are involved in an accident. Both General Motors and Nissan have published a guide for firefighters and first responders to properly handle a crashed electric-drive vehicle and safely disable its battery and other high voltage systems.